Were the #NewKCI Construction Cost Numbers Ever Real?

Last Thursday on the Kansas City Public Television program Ruckus, panelist Jim Heeter dropped the following bomb about the large increase in the cost of a new single terminal for Kansas City International Airport [start at 21:07],

A lot of us who looked at that [cost] issue closely at the time that voters approved [it] fully expected this. We expected it was going to be a bigger project than was approved at the time, so in that sense it is not a surprise.

The Risk of City-issued Bonds

Kansas City leaders tell us that the bonds issued by the Kansas City Industrial Development Authority to fund the construction of a billion dollar new terminal at Kansas City International Airport pose no risk to taxpayers. Repeatedly we are assured that if the project fails to generate enough revenue, the loss will be borne by private bondholders, not taxpayers.

Tell that to Platte County.

The Airport and Transparency

In the lead-up to the November vote on tearing down Kansas City International Airport’s terminals and building a new $1.2 billion single terminal, we editorialized on KMBC:

Important details of the new terminal remain unknown. We don’t know the final costs. We don’t know the financing details, or how building contracts will be awarded. All those things are being reevaluated now. Voters should vote no on Question 1 until they know exactly what is being asked of them. This is too important to get wrong.

About All Those Airport Surveys

Polling indicates that building a new single terminal at Kansas City International Airport is unpopular, yet we seem inundated with surveys that purport to show that opinions are changing. It’s tough to say, because we don’t necessarily know if the information is trustworthy. What we do know, however, is not comforting.

Airport Proposals Fly while the Public Feels Grounded

Both Kansas City and Saint Louis are considering major changes to each of their biggest public assets: their airports. While the circumstances of each project are different, the inclination of some officials to avoid public scrutiny may sink both efforts. Regardless of the merits of any proposal, the process must remain open and transparent to taxpayers.

Terminals For T-Shirts

Over the weekend, the Kansas City Star quoted me in an article regarding concessions at Kansas City International Airport (KCI). The article reported:
Even if Kansas City builds a new terminal and begins to perform as well as peer airports in raising retail revenues, conservative policy analyst Joseph Miller calculated the airport should only expect another $1 million or $1.5 million per year in extra funds.

Show-Me Institute Research Discussed On Ruckus

On Thurs., April 3, the Show-Me Institute’s research about the Kansas City streetcar and the proposed $1.2 billion new terminal plan for Kansas City International Airport (MCI) was featured prominently on the program Ruckus. That program aired on public television station KCPT-TV in Kansas City. Show-Me Institute Board Chairman Crosby Kemper III argued that both the new airport terminal plan and the streetcar are wasteful projects, the result of Kansas City becoming a “fact-free city.”